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Children's books

Harriet at 50

Even at 50 years old, Harriet can rankle readers. All students of children’s literature (in fact anyone interested in children’s literature) should meet her — even those who first encountered Harriet when they were children. The 1960s were turbulent; change was everywhere — including in books for children. First published in 1964, Harriet the Spy marked a sea change in the direction of juvenile fiction. Some people loved it, others had an equally strong and opposite reaction to the book.

Curiosity ignited

I admit it. I did not enjoy science and math very much when I was a kid. But new and fresh approaches in books for young readers (and I, of course, am still a young reader at heart) are sure to not only engage but inspire a new generation.  Many new books are sure add to an appreciation of the humanities.

Water Words and Watersheds

Anna Faulkner acquired a passion for working with students in 2006 as a teacher at Bingham Academy, an international school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She moved back to the U.S. to earn her Masters of Education in International Education Policy and graduated in May of 2012.

Drawn Together: An Interview with Minh Le

Earlier this year, I came across a book that struck a personal chord and made me wonder about its genesis. What made it stand out above others?

Then I had a chance to hear the author, Minh Le, talk about it. I knew he had a background in early childhood policy and has two young children of his own.

Books on Buses and Book in a Bag: Book Access and Reading

Teacher questions:

Can you point us to any research regarding the practice of Book In a Bag sending leveled readers home with students each night? What do you think of “Books on the Bus?”

Shanahan's response:

I know of no research on either of these methods for increasing kids’ access to books. I checked both PscyInfo and Google for sources, and nada!

We Are Water Explorers, Raft Builders, and Readers!

Becky Koons is a Senior Resident Services Manager with AHC Inc. at the Woodbury Park Community Center in Arlington, Virginia. AHC’s Summer Camp program is designed to prevent learning loss — a particular challenge for low-income students — through both educational and enrichment experiences.

Adventures of My Summer River Rangers

How can we teach children about one of our most important natural resources? Gaynelle Diaz combines lots of reading with art, hands-on activities, and field trips to jumpstart a summer full of learning about water and our local rivers.

Making books and creating readers: a collaboration from the start

A picture book that can stand up to multiple readings is a good one in my book. You know what I’m talking about — the books a child wants to hear (or read independently) over and over. These are most books with enough textual and visual interest to engage time and again. But a picture book does so much more.

A conversation with Emily Arnold McCully

Emily Arnold McCully has taken readers on a family Picnic, introduced The Queen of the Diamond and a dog named Strongheart. She may be best known as the Caldecott Medalist who took readers to Paris to view the city along with Mirette on the High Wire.

I heard Ms. McCully speak recently at a meeting where she agreed to answer some questions about her work.

How to Encourage Summer Reading: A Parent's Guide

Summer is almost upon us. The days are growing longer, the sun is higher in the sky, and soon school will be over for the year. Our children’s thoughts now turn to swimming, skateboards, baseball, and bike riding.

Unfortunately, for far too many of kids, summer vacation is a time for forgetting. You’ve probably heard that “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” That’s certainly true about reading. Kids who don’t read over the summer regress. Their hard-earned reading skills decline.

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"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo